Thursday, September 20, 2007

Happy birthday, Upton Sinclair.

Muckraking journalist and political activist Upton Sinclair, best known for his landmark 1906 work The Jungle that reformed the Chicago meat-packing industry, was born today in Baltimore in 1878. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Dragon's Teeth (1942), a novel that examined the rise of the Nazis. Other notable works among his 90 books include King Coal (1917; dealing with Colorado coal mines), Oil! (1927; about the California oil industry, which has been adapted into the upcoming film There Will Be Blood), and Boston: A Documentary Novel of the Sacco-Vanzetti Case (1928). He also ran as a Democratic candidate for governor of California in 1934.

The Jungle has often been credited with the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, long advocated by Theodore Roosevelt.

Sinclair died in November 1968 in Bound Brook, New Jersey, a town located next to my hometown of Martinsville.

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